The World Factbook (1982)/Seychelles

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The World Factbook (1982)
by the Central Intelligence Agency


(See reference map VII)


404 km2; 54% arable land, nearly all of it is under cultivation, 17% wood and forest land, 29% other (mainly reefs and other surfaces unsuited for agriculture); 40 granitic and 50 or more coralline islands


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 12 nm (economic, including fishing, 200 nm)

Coastline: 491 km (Mahe Island 93 km)


Population: 66,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 1.9%

Nationality: noun—Seychellois (sing. and pl.); adjective—Seychelles

Ethnic divisions: Seychellois (admixture of Asians, Africans, Europeans)

Religion: 90% Roman Catholic

Language: Creole official and most widely spoken; English, French

Literacy: 60% adult; 75% school-age children

Labor force: 15,000 in monetized sector (excluding self-employed, domestic servants, and workers on small farms); 33% public sector employment, 20% private sector employment in agriculture, 20% private sector employment in construction and catering services

Organized labor: 3 major trade unions


Official name: Republic of Seychelles

Type: republic; member of the Commonwealth

Capital: Victoria, Mahé Island

Legal system: based on English common law, French civil law system, and customary law

National holiday: 29 June

Branches: President, Council of Ministers

Fiscal year: calendar year

Government leader: President France Albert RENE

Suffrage: universal adult

Elections: general elections held June 1979 gave 98% approval to René as only presidential candidate on yes/no ballot

Political parties and leaders: René, who heads the Seychelles People's Progressive Front, came to power by a military coup in June 1977. Until then he had been Prime Minister in an uneasy coalition with then President James Mancham, who headed the Seychelles Democratic Party. René banned the Seychelles Democratic Party in mid-March 1978 and announced a new constitution in March 1979 that turned the country into a one-party state

Communists: negligible, although some Cabinet Ministers espouse pro-Soviet line

Other political or pressure groups: trade unions

Member of: G-77, GATT (de facto), IAEA, ICAO, IFAD, ILO, IMCO, IMF, NAM, OAU, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO


GDP: $90 million (1978 est.); $1,330 per capita; 6% growth rate (1980)

Agriculture: islands depend largely on coconut production and export of copra; cinnamon, vanilla, and patchouli (used for perfumes) are other cash crops; food crops—small quantities of sweet potatoes, cassava, sugarcane, and bananas; islands not self-sufficient in foodstuffs and the bulk of the supply must be imported; fish is an important food source

Major industries: processing of coconut and vanilla, fishing, small-scale manufacture of consumer goods, coir rope factory, tea factory, tourism

Electric power: 16,000 kW capacity (1980); 45 million kWh produced (1980), 703 kWh per capita

Exports: $5.2 million (f.o.b., 1980); cinnamon (bark and oil) and vanilla account for almost 50% of the total, copra accounts for about 40%, the remainder consists of patchouli, fish, and guano

Imports: $74.0 million (c.i.f., 1980); food, tobacco, and beverages account for about 40% of imports, manufactured goods about 25%, the remainder consists of machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, textiles

Major trade partners: exports—India, US; imports—UK, Kenya, South Africa, Burma, India, Australia

External debt: $22 million (1980); external service payment (1980), $245,000

Aid: economic commitments—Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF (1970-79), $110 million; US (FY70-80), $2.7 million; OPEC, ODA (1974-79), $1.2 million

Budget: (1979) revenue $42.0 million, current expenditure $35.0 million, development expenditure $15.6

Monetary conversion rate: 6.39 Seychelles rupees=US$1 (1981)


Railroads: none

Highways: 215 km total; 145 km bituminous, 70 km crushed stone or earth

Ports: 1 small port (Victoria)

Civil air: no major transport aircraft

Airfields: 7 total, 7 usable (on Praslin Island, Astove Island, Bird Island, Mahe Island); 1 with permanent-surface runways 2,440-3,659 m

Telecommunications: direct radiocommunications with adjacent island and African coastal countries; 5,970 telephones (9.6 per 100 popl.); 2 AM, no FM, and no TV stations; Indian Ocean satellite station


Military manpower: males 15-49, 13,000; 7,000 fit for military service

Supply: infantry-type weapons and ammunition from Tanzania, USSR, and the PRC